Curran Law Firm Client Prevails before the Ninth Circuit

Oct 2017 | School Law

The School Law Team at Curran Law Firm successfully defended Seattle Public Schools in a special education appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of N.E. v. Seattle School District, 842 F.3d 1093 (9th Cir. 2016).

The appeal addressed a special education student’s educational placement while a complaint brought under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) is processed. Under that law, a student is entitled to remain in their “then-current” educational placement until the litigation is concluded. This is referred to as a student’s “stay-put” placement. The Ninth Circuit ruled in Seattle Public Schools’ favor and agreed with its argument that the placement described in a partially-implemented, multi-stage IEP, as a whole, is a student’s then-current educational placement. The opinion is available here.

Prior to prevailing in the Ninth Circuit, Curran Law Firm successfully defended the school district’s position before an administrative law judge and, on the parents’ initial appeal, Judge James Robart in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. N.E., et al. v. Seattle Sch. Dist., 2015 WL 12564236 (W.D. Wash. 2015). After the Ninth Circuit panel’s decision, the School Law Team successfully opposed the parents’ request that the Ninth Circuit rehear their case, and their petition for review to the United States Supreme Court—which the Court denied on October 2, 2017. N.E., et al. v. Seattle Sch. Dist., 2017 WL 1510043 (Oct. 2, 2017).

To learn more about the significance of this case, or to discuss other education issues, contact Dave Hokit, Sam Chalfant, or Kevin Jussel. Curran Law Firm, P.S.—Experienced, dedicated, and responsive legal representation for school districts.